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Mastering the Basics of Bussing and Outdoor Dining Post Covid

If you run a professional kitchen, you are well aware that a smooth flow of staff can make or break a successful evening of service.

From avoiding tickets getting hung up in the kitchen to ensuring there are clean plates, every individual's contribution is critical to success. One key role that can often go overlooked is the busser. Read on to better understand the critical role of the busser and to pick up a few tips to help staff members successfully clear tables and improve customer experience.

Bussing: A Critical Component

Every person operating in a restaurant contributes to the success of the group, and this includes the busser. They serve a number of important functions that require experience and training.

Focus on Service

Happy guests are a must for a successful restaurant, and bussers are on the frontline of preserving the guest experience. When guests arrive, they should be met with a clean table and quickly provided a glass of water. The water should be replenished as needed, and guests shouldn't be left with dirty dishes in front of them. These are all obvious ways that bussers contribute to positive guest experiences.

There are less obvious ways that bussers can contribute – or detract – from the customer experience as well. Leaving tubs of dirty dishes in the line of sight of guests isn't appetizing. If a busser is frazzled, this contributes frenetic energy to what should be a welcoming atmosphere.

Regardless of how your establishment employs bussers, there is no doubt that having a skilled and highly trained bussing staff will elevate guests' dining experience.

Encourage Kitchen Flow

While keeping guests happy is of vital importance, it isn't the only way bussers are important to a restaurant kitchen. Bussers are responsible for delivering an essential item to foodservice: flatware and dinnerware. Restaurants need to optimize their budgets, which means they can't keep a never-ending supply of dishes and flatware in stock.

Bussers are responsible for getting dirty dishes back to dishwashers, who then get dishes cleaned and back in circulation. If bussers aren't appropriately staffed or trained to efficiently move dishes, this could cause a backlog for the entire kitchen.

Tips for Training Bussers

One of the most important factors in efficient bussing is having well-trained staff. Make sure your staff is trained with the following in mind:

  • Have a restaurant-wide plan. Be clear on what your establishment's position is on bussing. Must all guests' plates be cleared at one time, or should they be cleared as each guest finishes? Is there an order of priority in which dishes should be cleared?
  • Read the table. While bussers may not interact with guests as much as the wait staff, they still need to read guest preferences. While guests don't want to feel rushed, they also don't want to sit with empty dishes for an extended period of time. Work with your bussers to help them pick up on guest cues to avoid guests feeling rushed or ignored.
  • Communication is key. Bussers need to feel comfortable with the rest of the staff so the entire staff can communicate concerns or needs. 
  • Understand the basics. Bussers need to be well-versed in basic restaurant service skills, such as folding napkins, when silverware should be replaced, whether plates should be removed on a tray, and how to properly crumb a table.

Having a highly-operating bussing staff will ease the burdens for the rest of the kitchen.

Find the Right Equipment

Even if your bussing staff is well-trained, they can't operate at the highest level without the right equipment. Lakeside offers personalized solutions that help foodservice directors manage their responsibilities by providing knowledgeable experts to advise on products and equipment. Lakeside can help your team select the best bussing products to optimize your kitchen experience. Contact us today to find out how we can help.